Thursday, December 24, 2009

Message to Santa.

I wasn't going to write a post here tonight, but I was writing an email to my friend and whilst doing that, my daughter Annie came in with a drink and mince pie for Santa and a carrot for Rudolf. She left a note which she had hastily written...if you click on the pic you can read it. Please take note..the drink in the glass is one of my favourites: Dark rum....but there's enough there not only to incapacitate Santa, but also all his rein deers ! I will be returning it to the bottle once Annie is in bed......well, most of it !
May I take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy Christmas.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Carol singing in the avenue

Last evening we took part in carol singing to the houses in our avenue. This is a tradition that's taken place over the last six years.We post invitations to all the houses and meet under a certain lamp post...we then move from lamp post to lamp post singing under each. We then all go back to some one's house for mulled wine, mince pies etc.

Yesterday's event was attended by around 25 - 30 can see by the photos that snow was on the ground and it was bitterly cold. Temperatures in Scotland were measured at minus 16 degrees in places!!For us it was around minus 3.

every one came back to my house.To disguise the mess, we decided to ban light bulbs, so the house was lit by candles (see above)...this caused a couple of problems, as I had to go out to the car to fetch something...on return ~I dropped the keys into the what I thought was the key pot, but it turned out to be the mulled wine I'd left next to the key pot!....the keys are very sticky today!

Here are two pictures of the singers...above: singing outside our house and below , gathered outside the front garden of Tim and Lynne's.

It was a lovely evening.When every one had left...Jan and I settled down with Annie and osme friends (Andrew, Jane and Sarah) to watch a DVD of 'White Christmas'..which always makes me feel christmassy...

Monday, December 21, 2009

At home with the Youngs.

I bet you were beginning to wonder where I'd got to?..Well folks, it's that time of the year where I start to wind down a little and enjoy all things Christmassy.Here's a little view of my front room (I should have plumped the cushions) and the lovely warm glow. Outside there is snow on the ground and ice has remained all day. I've not actually worked on my picture since Friday but I'm not worrying about it....If I get time, I'll do some and you'll be the first to see the results.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Quintadagio - 43

Today had quite a pleasant start.It all started when I mentioned to Jan that being self employed at Christmas meant not having any work colleagues to have a Christmas party with.Jan is also self employed so we decided to combine our respective businesses and have our own little 'do'. But when we put our diary's...well, actually I don't keep an appointments diary, but when Jan looked at her days, we could only find this morning to have breakfast together. So we dropped Annie off at school and headed off to the local Sainsbury store cafe.
Before going to order our food, Jan thought it would be fun to buy 'Secret Santa presents' so we toddled off into the store to buy a little gift each.Once we'd each paid for our gifts, we went into the cafe to order. Whilst waiting for our food to be delivered , I set up a small Christmas tree I'd brought from home on our table.It's little fibre optic lights twinkling away.We wrapped our presents to each other in paper napkins and laid them at the base of the tree.

We then ate our food.I love a good 'Full English' breakfast, but only enjoy it rarely (this was the second in a year!)...The doctor told me to 'Keep an eye on my I put it all at the front where I can 'keep an eye on it!' After we'd eaten, we did some hand jive table dancing, played a game of charades, played spin the (ketchup) bottle for truth or dare,then opened our presents. I got a jar of anchovies in garlic and olive oil.
We returned home to resume work...Jan had to spend the day doing admin for the upcoming show which will be staged next spring...she is currently selling shows to theatres around the Midlands.I carried on with my as usual!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Quintadagio - 42

Christmas is approaching and there are lots of things one needs to do, so that will explain if there is a slowing down of my progress. But I will do what I can to maintain my output (blimey, that sounds so formal!uurrk!)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Quintadagio - 41

Here's a slightly skuewiff view of the entire composition as it stands.I've been working very close to the image of course, and it's relatively large. So it's really nice to see it here in it's compact view.Below is a close up of the area I've been working on today..the flash on the camera has slightly bleached the photo.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Quintadagio - 40

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Quintadagio - 39

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Quintadagio - 38

Monday, December 07, 2009

Quintadagio - 37

A disturbed day as far as my routine goes..I find it difficult to drop and then pick up my work to only have short sessions to work in. a planned visit to the framer (who was closed!) and shopping in town went awry and found me back home earlier than I thought. Sorting out some work for Jan's theatre project saw my day fractured as far as undisturbed work. Then went out to do the weekly shop with Jan, Sam and Annie.
It's something to do with the time of the year I think ? :-)

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Will the real Cello girl please stand up ?

I always do these introductions to what inspires me so a cringe worthy sort of way, but I guess I'm just best at drawing not writing. But here are a few of the faces that make up the inspiration for my 'Cello girl'. I'm often asked why I chose to repeat the particular look and hair stlye...well here's a sort of explanation.

Above is a photograph of the actress Wendy Padbury playing 'Zoe Herriot' in the BBC serial Doctor Who. I first noticed this character in about 1967 (I was 6 at the time) I loved the programme and loved the fact that I as a viewer became frightened when the monsters turned up, the characters were too, but learned to master their fear and eventually defeat the monsters through a mixture of bravery and science. As a child of 6 with a very active imagination which brought all sorts of nightmares and fantasies, I drew comfort from the fact that one can overcome fear ....and Zoe epitomised it for me!

In 1969, man first set foot on the Moon, and as a 9 year old, my head was still full of space fantasies and science fiction.On television, sci fi shows were all he rage, and non more so than the shows produced by Gerry Anderson. Thunderbirds had held a generation of children spellbound by the interaction of puppets and fantastic machinery. But in UFO live actors took the place of puppets. Above is Gabriel Drake playing the role of Lt.Gay Ellis...Moonbase controller. She was the perfect successor to Zoe....I thought the future would really be like this!

Below(not in any particular order ) are the types of faces and especially Bob Cut hairstyles that always catch my eye.

Gemma Arterton(starring in the movie Saint Trinians)

Georgina Taylor..actress, appearing here in the BBC series 'Casualty'

Maria De Medieros..actress , appearing here in the movie 'Henry and June'

Phoebe Cates as seen in the movie 'Drop Dead Fred'
And last but not least, the TV, Radio presenter and journalist Anne Diamond

So there you have it. Now when you see my work and the girls that appear in the scenes, you'll know why they look the way they doubt more cringe worthy posts on the subject will appear another time!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Quintadagio - 36

The wheel is starting to emerge here..I've had to redraw it a few times getting the spaces between the spokes right. Looking at the Starman and his fiddle, reminds me that tonight I have to attend a Barn Dance..a friend of Jan's having a birthday party. Will I dance?..or will I find a cosy corner by the bar?...I know which option I prefer...and it doesn't involve any 'docie - dohing' !!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Quintadagio - 35

A big achievement today was passing over and around Starman's head. I'm looking forward to working on the spokes of the wheel to the left of starman which if it turns out how I envisage it, should be quite impressive.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Quintadagio - 34

Progressing well today. I really don't have a lot to say except that it was just short of six hours dotting, my eyes and neck ache after such intense working. I remember thinking that after 'Jigsaw'...I would work on something that was less work heavy. I appear to have been totally wrong. By my timings so far, I'm estimating this picture to take 300 hours + This means I'll finish some time in February!

Anonymous and indecipherable stuff...IMPORTANT NOTICE

Whilst I love receiving any comments regarding posts to Dancing for Beginners, I do not as a rule accept anonymous posts which aim to direct me or my readers to sites that promote financial products/ illicit substances or any other non related art subjects. I do receive certain comments from friends who can only post as 'Anonymous' (I know who you are by the things you write!). I also do not accept comments which are indecipherable by Microsoft or other translation devices. Recently I've had a whole crop of comments in Chinese and Japanese script...I'm sorry but I cannot read these so I won't be publishing them .If this is you and you are attempting to make a bonafide comment, I apologise'''please endeavour to translate before you post!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Quintadagio - 33

I had a comment left on my Facebook page from an old friend...actually probably one of my oldest friends. My friend Richard was the person I sat next to on my first day at infant school, and after many years, we're back in touch. Richard used to know me as (amongst other things I'm sure he could tell you) an artist even at such an early age..I have always drawn and my parents , friends and especially teachers encouraged me to follow my interest and develop my talent. Anyway, back to the comment which was basically asking how I manage to do 'this'.

This is not exactly a guide to Hyperpointillism or really how to do it..but I thought I'd show you a series of photographs steadily zooming out from one dot ( see above ) was probably the first dot..every journey begins with one step...every one of my pictures begins with one dot.

I'm reading another book at the moment by Salley Vickers.I love her writing as it's very human and addresses many of life's bigger issues in everyday settings. In my current book 'MR. Golightly's Holiday' the main character who is an author remarks that for the artist, there is no better feeling than to hold the concept and vision of a piece of art in the mind...knowing what it will become and how it will be achieved before any mark is on the page/canvas........ I know this feeling well, and there is no more better example than this drawing. In my mind, I know what it will look like...I know what I want..and bit by bit I'm creating what I have already seen in my mind.

A group of dots become an eye...a set of eyelids...To reach even this stage I have worked on repeated sketches in my sketchbook...rejected many and decided on this...if you look back the the first posts of this piece indeed showed me scrap a previous face in favour of this... At this stage, you can probably still count how many dots I've drawn.

Moving further away you can still see the first could also at a stretch count how many dots there are...but you'll be hard pressed to count any further. I love the way that one's eye reaches a point where 1..2..3..4..becomes 'a lot' becomes 'too many to tell apart'.

This type of work is by no means easy. I've spent the last 27 years using this technique, and each time I compose and execute a work, I learn more...I push the method a little further. It is by no means quick or easy.
How many hundreds of thousands of dots are now gathered here?..certainly too many to ever count..and by now the eye loses the ability ( at least at this resolution) to differential between dots...

Over 100 hours of pure dotting have now gone into Quintadagio...I'm nearly 25% finished! ..and I'm the only one who knows what it will look like.But you can too if you come back tomorrow...and the next day...and the next........

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Quintadagio - 32

The Cello Girl's face appears to be a little bleached out hear thanks to my close proximity when using the I was out for lunch with Jan, we met a couple of her friends for lunch which was an absolute treat. I marked (belatedly Saint Andrew's Day..) by ordering Haggis Neep and Tatties which was gorgeous.

For those of you who don't know what a Haggis is, I'll explain. It's a traditional Scottish dish which is a mixture of oats , barley seasoning and minced beef/lamb and onions...this is then packed into a sheep's stomach and cooked. 'Neeps' are boiled swede and 'Tatties' are potatoes.

A couple of pints of real ale hit the spot nicely. the company was splendorous and warm resulting in me making two friends, both lovely warm people.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Quintadagio - 31

Friday, November 27, 2009

Quintadagio - 30

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Quintadagio - 29

Just a lot of greasy metal today...slow going making sure the details are correct. I'm rapidly approaching the 100 hour mark on this already with a very long time to go..
I also want to take this opportunity to wish my American friends a VERY Happy Thanksgiving Day.....!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Quintadagio - 28

Had to go off to Stoke again this morning to do role play, made bearable by the company I traveled with, both Jane and Rachael are long time family friends and made sure we had plenty of laughs along the way.

Today I've concentrated on this area of the picture.The amount of time has been limited due to my role play work.Earlier in the week I ask you if you could identify the background...of course you guessed right by identifying it as a locomotive. However, there is much more that is significant to the choice I've made. The actual steam locomotive type represented here is the British Rail Class Five...which came to be affectionately known as 'The Black Five' Built in my home town of Derby, they were made in large numbers..842 were introduced from 1934 onwards until the 1950's. I chose this class of loco because of the Derby connection and the 'Five' connected to my picture. Below is a photo what a 'Black five' looks like. Incidentally, the main drive wheel diameter is 6 feet and 3 inches.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Quintadagio - 27

More work on the valve gear today....that's the name for all the masses of metal you see behind the figures here.Depicting railway subjects is a bit of a gamble really...for me, the significance is symbolic, but my need to represent naturalistically my subject means that when I exhibit my work, there are (and believe me..they are very zealous enthusiasts !!) enthusiasts who will look at every detail of a locomotive and point out any anomalies. Although as I say, the subject is symbolic, I feel a compulsion to represent the subject I strive to do that.
On a slightly different note, I've been reading a book Jan gave me as a birthday's about the work of Paul Delvaux.If you want to follow up his name for your own studies, you might discover that there are parallels between his method of composition and subject matter to my own work.Whilst I can only dream of attaining the kind of notoriety his work has received, I am finding that the critical and psychological assessment of his work excites me ..I can identify with many of his motifs. I'll write more about him another time, but for now you can see a selection of his works here.

Monday, November 23, 2009

48 Candles ablaze !

This is the cake my lovely daughter made for me...yes , she really did ! she's only 9, but has memorised a couple of recipes and is able to interchange, swap and substitute the ingredients to make the type of cake she wants. She mixes,pours and bakes the cake too, although I took the cake out of the oven. She then went digging around various cupboards until she'd counted exactly 48 candles...she even took the photograph. I am obviously biased, but she is a little genius! You've guessed by now that it was my birthday .Saturday was a really nice day for me, we even had a party in the evening. and I welcomed some very dear friends to share the time with me.My friend Kay came down especially from Scotland, and an old friend Tracey whom I've been out of touch with came along....I had a nice phone call from Preeti and a singing birthday card from Devilmood.

I have been working today, but I thought I'd post this photo know it's something very special to have family and friends who love you, and I have some of the very best friends...they even still love me when I got so drunk, my trousers fell down and i didn't even notice! So this post is for you if you were there, and for you if you weren't but would like to have been. In two years I'll be 50, and I'm having a big bash with a band..dancers etc...and you are invited!...if you're able to come, I'll do my best to sort out accommodation..

PS..Cello Girls get priority!

See you tomorrow !

Friday, November 20, 2009

Quintadagio - 26

Sorry if the photo is a little blurred...but I hope you can see the pencil work i've applied behind the girls and Starman. It should give another clue as to what it is...

I may have mentioned earlier in the week that I'd had an asthma attack. Well #i had another episode this morning walking back from school. So a big thank you to all those who have nagged me via these pages and on my Facebook page to go and see the Doctor. I've only just got back and can report my heart and lungs are fine, my asthma is an activity triggered variety that occurs in cold air. I've now got an inhaler in case I get any further occurrences.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Quintadagio - 25

At the time of this photo earlier today, I had nearly completed the first piece of heavy metal appearing in the background.I wonder who will be the first person to identify what the background comprises of....ummm ?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Quintadagio - 24 Gangsters and molls.

Honestly, I wasn't drunk when I took the photo!...I'm pleased to have carried the darkened area over from one side of the page to the other. It has a unifying effect to the composition and helps me to visualise what the overall effect will be.

As an interesting side today I had a commission to do more work for 'Big Head Events'. I produced a poster for them earlier in the year. The artwork today required no text as the client wanted to add it themselves. All I had to do was produce two characters based on a Gangster and his Moll in the style of the first poster artwork. The client is very happy with the work and below is a scan of the finished piece.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Quintadagio - 23

This exciting isn't it?..... This represents the total of my day's work, around about 5 hours.But it will be worth it in the end. I got off to a wrong start this morning, I walked Annie to school, it was beautifully Sunny with a crispness to the air. I left Annie as the bell went and made my way back through the park.The journey involves a long steep slope climbing up out of the the time I reached the top, I was out of breath and annoyingly my chest began to tighten...I used to suffer from asthma some years ago, but it suddenly disappeared when we moved house in 2002. Today was the first time it came back and I can tell you I was worried. As I continued on my way home a friend stopped in her car after dropping her own daughter off at school..I readily accepted the offer of a lift home. I'm fine this evening.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Quintadagio - 22

I wish I was able to write and express myself as well some people I know, but I hope you got the gist of my previous post? So today it's back to doing what I know I can do. I've spent a great amount of time today researching and sketching in the background to this piece.If you enlarge the image, I'm sure you'll be able to see some of the pencil lines. What I'm drawing will become apparent over time...stay tuned!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Purple Patch.

I'm probably on to a looser here, and I'm probably only too deficient in eloquence to argue my case, but if you'll bear with me for a few moments, I'll try to explain. Yesterday I went off to school to pick Annie up.It was a damp cold afternoon. I went to stand with two dear friends of mine who are both Mums of children in Annie's class.

looking in a draw and had come across a pair of leggings which she had worn some years ago.We laughed about how they seem to be back in vogue...we mused how fashion always comes full circle despite reinventing itself. I then mentioned that I really love the 'shiny leather look' leggings now seen .My friend laughed ..she didn't think they would suit her now being a 'mature lady'. But ladies and gentlemen, I disagree, or rather I disagree with the notion that one would feel unable to wear something because one feels that one is too old.

I entered the conversation during which one of the Mums was describing how she had been I suddenly had an image (morbidity warning!) of myself lying on my death bed. I imagined what I might have cause to regret of worry about...and what I'd worn would certainly not be something I would loose sleep (albeit eternal sleep) over. Ladies, I'm not urging you to go out and dress like teenager (unless you are in fact a teenager!) But please, have a careful look on your right hand...find the middle finger, leave it extended whilst lowering the other three, then point the finger skywards and say to life, "I'll wear whatever makes me happy...I will celebrate the fact that i am alive and will be a long time dead...for now, I'm going to express the person inside despite the fact that you might not like it... !" Don't worry about my clothes, instead worry about something more important. *

the following photos are perhaps of 'beautiful people', and they might not illustrate what I've just said...but look at them and then click on the link at the bottom for a very well known poem...then you will be free to agree or disagree with me!

*If however you chose to dress like an old woman, then that's ok too...old ladies are great~!